SMS Marketing vs. Social Media Ads: Which One Should You Choose?

Published: | By Hanson Cheng

SMS marketing and Social media ads are great marketing channels to scale your business online and boost conversions.

On the one hand, you have over 4 billion users using social media, making it very effective. 

On the other hand, you have SMS marketing which is also super-popular because over 96% of Americans own smartphones.

In this article, we'll look at the pros and cons of both of these. We’ll help you decide which to choose for your marketing strategy to ensure that you get the best marketing solution for your business. Read on to find out more.

Social Media Ads

Social media ads can be a great way to target new customers, increase your reach and convert more customers.


Paid social media platforms pie charts

The Pros


Most social media platforms are free, which makes them very affordable.

You can create a profile, start posting high-quality content, engage with the audience and create a winning strategy.

However, to reach high-quality leads, you'll need to invest in social media ads. With that said, you don't have to break a bank to do that. It's very affordable when you know your numbers and understand what type of ROI you can make on your initial ad spend.


The best thing about social media is that you have a wide variety of content you can post. This includes things like webinars, infographics, or image-based posts. You can use carousel ads to drive engagement. Here’s an example of a Carousel ad by Housecashin, showing prospective home sellers the steps to selling their home to an investor.

Housecashin carousel 

If you're looking to shoot for the stars, pick video as your primary content type. Videos are by far the  most influential and most favorite type of content on social media.

Oberlo infographicSource

They combine action and visuals - two things our brain can't resist.

Try various types of content, see what works best for your audience, and maximize sales.


If one looks at some of the top sales funnel examples, it is easy to see that social media ads can easily be used in funnel marketing.

You can be very creative with your video ads and easily lead people towards a single goal.

Social media sales funnelSource

It is also good for brand awareness - it is easy to target the right people and start building a community around your brand. You’re likely going to be providing some free value, and leveraging attraction marketing to build brand authority. The chart below shows the four levels of expertise for realtors and what is required at each stage.

Real estate bees infographic

A social media funnel is also easy to track using the right KPI tools and can be used as a constant feedback tool.


Social media ads aren't difficult to set up - when you know what you're doing.

In this case, you can finish them in a matter of a few minutes, after which they’ll be live and ready to drive traffic to your blog or website (after they’ve been approved). Also, in case you don't really know what you’re doing, there are tons of online teaching platforms that can teach you more about this.

Instagram posts

These top online platforms offer courses on any topic you can imagine and will allow you to hone your knowledge and improve when it comes to the skills that matter. 

In this case, such platforms will help you get better when creating your social media ads, in order to be more effective when advertising to your target audience.


Social media is super-personalized, which is especially important in today's world.

We are exposed to thousands of ads every day, and we naturally turn off everything that isn't relevant or personalized.

Benefits of personalization infographic

Aside from personalization, social media is also very engaging and uses beautiful-looking visuals. Let's look at an example of a small niche social media brand in the finance space to inspect this further.

We'll be talking about GoldIRASecrets, which you can see in the picture below.

Gold IRA Secrets FB

Immediately after you get on their social media page, you can see their cover picture. It's super catchy and gives you a benefit straight on - roll over your retirement plan, inflation-proof gold and silver.

After that, you can see their logo and a big CTA button screaming, "Learn more.”

You can scroll down, and there you can see engaging posts with catchy headlines. They all arouse curiosity and persuade users to click and learn more on their site.

Gold IRA Secrets FB post

Everything is highly engaging, beautiful, spot-on, and personalized.

The Cons


Maintaining interactive social media can be very time-consuming. This is because you have to constantly post engaging content, respond to your customers’ questions and reach out to new users at the same time.

Fortunately, there are still ways you can speed up your social media game and save time.

The easiest and fastest way to do so is to hire a social media manager to take care of your social media brand. This allows you to set goals, track progress, and ensure you get the most out of social media.


Measuring the effectiveness of your social media strategy is crucial.

It will allow you to see whether you're getting the results you're looking for or rather just waste money and time.

Unfortunately, only a tiny portion of marketers take the time to really measure the ROI of their social media ads.

This is a huge disadvantage to be playing from, especially if you're just starting. Chances are that at the beginning, your strategy won't be perfect, and without measuring the right numbers, you won't be able to get feedback and improve. 

That makes it very risky for beginners.


Anything you post online can be used against you. It's especially true on social media.

You make just one mistake, and it can completely kill your brand image and sales. There can also be fake accounts that are there only to hurt your brand.

FB comment

The social media world can be very toxic and can tear up your brand image.

SMS Marketing

Most people are addicted to their phones, making SMS marketing a very lucrative option to generate more sales and get customers.

SMS vs Other Marketing Channels infographic

The Pros


The conversion rate of SMS marketing is going through the roof.

You can expect as much as a 45% conversion rate which is absolutely crazy. You can convert almost every second recipient of your messages.

But this is a high-end conversion rate, and it's pretty tricky to achieve. If you're new to SMS marketing, you can expect a way lower conversion rate.

It's still great though, compared to most marketing channels.


Almost everyone opens an SMS message within a few minutes of receiving it, right?.

That’s why SMS marketing has the best open rates out of all marketing channels.

Another great thing about it is that it also has an excellent engagement rate. SMS marketing has a tremendous click-through rate, and almost half of it goes into conversions.

SMS marketing is a dream come true for any marketer. 


There are so many people you can reach online through multiple channels.

But almost no channel can catch up with SMS marketing, covering over 96% of Americans.

This presents an incredible opportunity to widen your reach and get to almost everyone in your target audience. 

That's why SMS marketing is considered one of the best marketing channels for driving conversions and sales.

The Cons


Like with email marketing, you must first build a list of prospects to send SMS messages to.

Building a giant list can be tricky, though. A great way to speed it up and build a big list easily is by crafting a compelling landing page. A landing page has only one purpose - to capture visitors. 

Also, lead generation metrics are constantly evolving - be sure that you are tracking the right metrics if you want to be successful in this building a list.

Wix landing pages

Building a landing page that converts can be difficult and very time-consuming. Fortunately, you can speed it up with the proper tools.


Unlike social media marketing, you can't write long-form posts.

This is a big setback of SMS marketing. All you can do is just text a maximum of 160 characters. You won’t be able to go into much detail, nor go deep to try and persuade your customers to take an action.

Moreover, you also won't see whether the recipient opened the message or not, which can present potential problems.


SMS messages are just text. They don't include videos, gifs, images, nor anything visual aside from text.

Unfortunately, this makes them very dry and may present problems with engagement. It's a lot more challenging to evoke emotions or grab attention, especially if you have only 160 characters to do so.

You must make every word count and make everything flow as smoothly as possible.

It's the only way to engage your audience, be persuasive and get the results your business deserves.

Final Verdict

Social media ads and SMS marketing are both great channels for boosting conversions.

If you're looking for maximal effectiveness and the best results, choose SMS marketing. It has a godly open rate and can drive immense conversions. 

You also don't have to compete with millions of businesses online (like with social media).

But no channel is perfect, and you should pick the one that suits your needs the most. That's the only way to a successful online presence.

Finally, remember that striking a balance between customer acquisition and customer retention is crucial for long-term business success. Getting customers is important but keeping them is also a key part of success.

author photoAbout the author: Hanson Cheng is the founder of Freedom to Ascend. He empowers online entrepreneurs and business owners to 10x their business and become financially independent. You can connect with him here.

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